cover image Tomorrow Sex Will Be Good Again: Women and Desire in the Age of Consent

Tomorrow Sex Will Be Good Again: Women and Desire in the Age of Consent

Katherine Angel. Verso, $19.95 (128p) ISBN 978-1-78873-916-0

Angel (Daddy Issues), a lecturer in creative writing at Birkbeck, University of London, delivers four thought-provoking essays on female sexuality in contemporary culture. Though consent is “crucial, and the bare minimum” for sexual encounters, Angel writes, the insistence that women vocalize their desires can work against them in cases of rape or sexual assault and fails to recognize that people don’t always know what they want. Reviewing recent sex research, she contends that studies categorizing women’s desire as mostly responding to men’s “urgent biological drive,” rather than arising spontaneously, “risk turning sexual desire into something towards which women must strive—even when they don’t want to,” and casts doubt on theories about women’s arousal that are based on vaginal lubrication in artificial laboratory conditions. “We should prioritize what women say, in all its complexity,” Angel argues, “rather than fetishizing what their bodies do in the name of a spurious scientism.” By fixating on “yes” and “no,” “consent culture” inhibits the potential for mutual exploration, curiosity, uncertainty, and growth, Angel concludes. Her jargon-free prose and nuanced readings of popular culture and postmodern theory enlighten. Readers will value this lively and incisive inquiry into the sexual dynamics of the #MeToo era. (Feb.)